#StopSucking: SA restaurants say 'No to straws!'

2018-01-11 14:30 - Kavitha Pillay
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Photo: iStock

Cape Town - As research continues to reveal the extent to which plastic is destroying the world, with specific harmful impact on ocean life, steps could not be taken any sooner to decrease the amount of plastic polluting the environment.

In an effort to save the ocean from plastic pollution, some restaurants in SA are no longer giving customers straws with drinks and plastic bags with take-aways.

ALSO SEE: PICS: New plastic gobbling drone pilot project to see 'a plastic-free V&A Waterfront'

South African seafood franchise, Ocean Basket has taken a major step in conservation by banning the use of straws and plastic bags at its restaurants. It will also work with NPOs, aquariums, science centres and other restaurants to promote its plastic straw-free initiative.

The restaurant chain says "The ocean sustains us with the basic elements of life; it produces half the oxygen we breathe, helps to provide the water we drink and delivers us the very core of our business success – seafood."

According to GoodThingsGuy.com, Ocean Basket is "in the process of building a movement within their stores to inspire all of us to prevent plastic pollution, reduce waste, improve recycling and live cleaner, healthier lives."

The roll-out of projects begins with banning the use of plastic straws and bags. The franchise also only uses seafood that has been harvested in a responsible, ethical manner, and through various activities such as education, outreach and awareness, will become ambassadors of the oceans and rivers.

According to Greenpeace Africa, "Up to 12 million metric tonnes of plastic enter our seas worldwide every year. The sea is choking." The organisation took to Twitter to applaud the decision made by the restaurant chain.

The franchise is joined by other restaurants in Cape Town, such as Truth Coffee Roasting which also does not give customers straws, and Bacon on Bree which only provides straws upon special request. These eateries are all contributing to lowering the use of plastic and its detrimental effects on the environment.

ALSO SEE: We chat to the guy behind Cape Town's first plastic-free grocery store

The move towards a plastic-free society is gaining momentum as conservation groups, businesses and individuals work together to drive home the message of plastic harm on nature.

The Mother City’s V&A Waterfront is strongly cementing its eco-conscious movement by implementing a number of initiatives that make it stand out as a responsible tourism venue. It recently implemented a 'plastic gobbling marine drone' known as a WasteShark, which will trawl the ocean surface picking up as much as 500kgs of ocean trash at a time.

It's CEO, David Green, also announced that the company is set to ban plastic bags and bottles from the precinct.

SEE: #EcoTravels: Cape Town businesses join way forward for clean oceans and climate change

Taking the plight for a plastic-free society beyond SA's borders, two Frenchmen are currently cycling 20 000kms in order to find ways to recycle this hazardous material. Cousins Quentin Witvoet and Matthieu Witvoet are aiming to find and identify inspiring solutions to the plastic plague of the 21st century.

Meanwhile, Kenya also made strides in decreasing its plastic use by banning plastic bags at supermarkets and shopping outlets. The country - which earlier this year built the first boat made entirely of recycled ocean plastic to sail along the coasts of Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique before arriving in South Africa - will impose fines on those people who violate the ban.

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